Coyotes' Torres suspended 25 games for Hossa hit

By John Marshall

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, April 21 2012 3:28 p.m. MDT

"While we acknowledge the circumstances of certain hits may cause a player's skates to come off the ice," he added, "on this hit, Torres launches himself into the air before making contact. ... The position of Hossa's head does not change just prior to or simultaneous with this hit. The onus, therefore, is on Torres not to make it the principal point of contact. By leaping, Torres makes Hossa's head the principal point of contact."

Shanahan has been criticized for being inconsistent in doling out punishment in what's been the most penalty-filled playoffs since 1998 — 18 penalty minutes per game, according to STATS LLC.

Early in the playoffs, Shanahan fined Nashville captain Shea Weber the league maximum $2,500 for being "reckless" in punching and then shoving Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg head-first into the glass in Game 1 of their series. Zetterberg wasn't hurt, but questions were raised on whether Weber should have been suspended,

The series between the state rival Flyers and Penguins was more like a UFC fight at the start, the teams racking up 282 penalty minutes the first four games. The Coyotes-Blackhawks series has been testy, too; Chicago rookie Andrew Shaw was suspended three games for running over Phoenix goalie Mike Smith in Game 2 before Torres' hit on Hossa.

"You never know what they're calling," Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris said. "You don't know what's going to be a hard hit, what's going to be a penalty. There's been plays you look at and you think, well that one should have been more, that one should have been less. You just don't know how it's going to be called so I don't know how you can adjust the game."

The league made big strides in preventing head injuries this season after numerous stars — Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, Vancouver's Daniel Sedin, Chicago captain Jonathan Toews among them — missed games because of concussion-related injuries. The regular season was the least-penalized in 23 years, according to STATS, with teams averaging 11.2 penalty minutes per game.

That's all changed in the playoffs and the league, along with many of the players, seems to have had enough.

"I'm sure a lofty suspension like that would make any player kind of rethink their actions," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "Maybe he doesn't think it was such a normal hockey play anymore."

Torres was suspended for two games in January for charging Minnesota Wild defenseman Nate Prosser and for four games in April 2011 for a hit to the head of Edmonton's Jordan Eberle while playing for Vancouver.

Torres also had a big hit in last year's playoffs with the Canucks that knocked out Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook for two games. Torres wasn't suspended for that hit despite the Blackhawks' calls for one.

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